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GFSB calls for rapid Covid tests to be procured locally

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The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses has called on the Chief Minister and the Director of Public Health to procure Lateral Flow Tests locally and the allow for the sale of rapid tests over the counter.

Currently the sale of Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) has been restricted to pharmacies and private clinics, and the tests must be carried out in a supervised fashion.

The tests are imported into Gibraltar from Spain and UK, and the GFSB said there should be a tender process and these tests should be supplied locally.

The Federation said it notes the points made by the Director of Public Health earlier in January, as to the reasons why widespread use of LFTs has not been adopted in Gibraltar.

“However, our members inform us that DIY LFTs are being used widely in Gibraltar imported from Spain and the UK,” the GFSB said.

“These tests could and should instead be supplied in Gibraltar by Gibraltar businesses.”

“The GFSB believe that this would not change or undermine the ability of Public Health to undertake their role as they are currently doing (given that DIY LFTs are already widespread in Gibraltar), but it would improve the ability of businesses and workers to better protect themselves from the consequences of the pandemic.”

The GFSB has written to the Director General of the GHA asking for clarification of the procurement process by the GHA for the acquisition of LFTs.

“A recent press statement by the Minister for Health indicated that these are being procured from a Spanish pharmacy based in La Linea via a local agent ordinarily engaged in the concrete supply business,” the GFSB said.

“Our members that are appropriately licensed by the Gibraltar Medical Registration Board, and the Business Licensing Authority, and experienced in the supply of products approved by the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, were not given the opportunity to participate in this procurement process.”

The GFSB has asked the GHA to confirm what process it put in place to procure LFTs and has requested that the procurement process be expanded so that its members have the opportunity to participate in it.

The GFSB added it encourages a tender process and this should be done as soon as possible.

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